Here in this post are our 5 must-see places in ATHENS that you definitely should visit in your days in Greece.
We were there in October 2020 for 2 days with our 3 children and we were able to see a lot of things by keeping our days full of activities.
The advantage of visiting a big and popular city, such as Athens during the pandemic were the minimum crowds, no lines and overall easier way to get to know the city.
- Getting to the historic center is easy, both on foot and by public transportation, which in fact we tested and approved, both options. I think the subway was 1.40€ per adult.
- Go with comfortable shoes because you have a lot of walking ahead, both Acropolis and Ancient Agora.
- Also take a small bottle of water and light snacks for children and adults, because inside these places we did not see any for sale.
- Sunscreen and hats are very necessary too, because there are almost none areas of shade.
- Pushing a stroller doesn’t match very well with Acropolis and most historical sites in Athens. That’s why we did not bring a stroller on this trip.
TICKETS FOR MAIN ATTRACTIONS
As for the tickets, we saw a lot of people buying on the spot, but I imagine it is only a viable option because of the pandemic (much less tourists).
In normal situations, the lines are reportedly huge, both to buy and to enter.
The tip is to get the COMBINED TICKET online that includes several of Athens’ main attractions, for a more affordable price than each site individually.
We always prefer to buy through the official tourism website of the country. We have seen other several other websites selling the tickets, which in this case, usually there a hidden fee of, at least, 3€ per ticket.
The official site of the main touristic sites in Athens is here. All you have to do is select Athens > Acropolis and Slopes > option “Combined”. The cost per adult is 30€.
This combined ticket lasts 5 days from the date you choose at the time of purchase, that is, five days to visit the attractions included in the ticket.
Children up to 16 years old can access free of charge, BUT a ticket is required for each child. You can get your free tickets in person at the kiosk located on opposite the main entrance of Acropolis.
Luckily, the queue took only 5 minutes and everything went fine. I just imagine how long it would take in the middle of summer, without a pandemic!
ACCESS TO MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN ATHENS
The attractions included in the combined ticket, mentioned above, in Athens are:
- Acropolis and the Slopes
- Ancient Agora
- Agora Roman
- Hadrian’s Library
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Aristotle’s School.
As I mentioned before, it’s very recommended to buy in advance to avoid unnecessary queues.
We bought online the day before our visit, waited in line for 5 minutes to pick up the children’s free tickets. We got no lines whatsoever at main entrance to Acropolis.
Another tip is to avoid accessing the Acropolis through the main entrance, where the queues are longer (we didn’t see any lines, but it was the effect of the pandemic).
Many people recommend the secondary entrance, as an option of fewer queues and faster access (see the map below, in the green points).
OUR MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN ATHENS
All very ancient, some from centuries before Christ. Most are in bad shape at the moment, but being rebuilt and repaired, so expect scaffolding, possible machinery and construction during your visit.
Of course, because it is on the top of the highest rock in the region, the views from the Acropolis are fantastic, almost as much as the temples. You can see almost all of Athens from above!
That area has, for sure, some special energy! I loved every little corner and tried to absorb the whole history in a brief moment (while watching the kids!).
Basically, I am certain that I will have to return there someday to see more!
Ancient Agora of Athens
An area that I named “the center of ancient Athens’, 6 centuries before Christ! That’s right, over 2500 years!
There are many ruins and outstanding places, but travel with children do not always give the choice to look at things calmly. We have done well without in-depth plans for the Agora of Athens.
The temple that I liked the most, the Temple of Hephaestus (or Theseion), which is one of the best preserved Greek temples nowadays.
It is believed that the beginning of the construction of this temple, supported by 38 Doric columns, was in 449 B.C., even before the Parthenon.
There is also a reconstruction, the Stoa of Attalos, which was rebuilt in the 1950s, but in comparison with the other buildings of the Agora in Athens, it seems that it was finished yesterday.
As the last place of relevance of our tour, the Church of the 12 Apostles is an example of Byzantine architecture in Greece, built around the 10th century. I could visit the church completely free of tourists, which a special moment.
The new Acropolis Museum, open to the public in 2009, is a contrast with all the surrounding antiquities. The Museum is located near the Acropolis and was built over ruins, which today are part of the collection.
Temple of Olympian Zeus
There are only a few columns that have yet stood the test of time. The view to the Acropolis is beautiful, but the area of Zeus’ temple seemed a little forgotten to me.
Maybe due to the pandemic, we almost had a private visit to the area, with almost no tourists visiting at that time.
For its historical importance, we faced a walk through the districts of Athens to visit the Panathenaic Stadium.
Its proportions are impressive, taking into account that it was originally built in 330 B.C.. It was renovated all in marble in 144 A.D. The stadium also hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896.
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